Hyderabad: Safety checks in buildings ignored

A senior officer from the fire department said the GHMC fire wing monitors fire safety.

Hyderabad: The State Disaster Response and Fire Service department booked only 16 cases against violators of fire safety norms from April 2015 to March 2016 and collected Rs 2.2 lakh as fine, according to a reply to an RTI query. This is not even 0.5 per cent of the number of shopping malls in the city.

Mr Mohammad Abdul Akram, a resident of Moghalpura, who sought the information through RTI, said, “There was a small fire in an Old City school and many children suffered burns. After this I filed the RTI query with the fire department. How can the head office be in the dark on how many buildings are registered with them for fire safety? As per law all builders have to install fire safety equipment like extinguishers, hose reels, yard hydrants, automatic sprinkler systems, smoke detectors and underground water sumps.”

A senior officer from the fire department said the GHMC fire wing monitors fire safety. “The number of cases stated in the reply is wrong. Last year, around 290 cases were booked by the department,” he said.

The city’s fire safety is monitored by the GHMC's fire safety wing that monitors buildings norms and the other is the fire department. In August last year, the GHMC declared that if building owners fail to instal fire safety equipment in three months, they would be declared ‘fire unsafe’. A skull and crossbones would be painted on the building, the GHMC said. No such thing happened.

Fire hazards in many high-rises
A drill-cum-survey held recently by fire safety officials revealed that about 40 per cent of the high-rise buildings in the city were unsafe. It was noted that Begum Bazaar, which has one of the biggest wholesale markets in the city, was cluttered, and that fire fighters may face problems in controlling fire.

The nearby Aziz Plaza was identified as the most dangerous from a fire safety viewpoint. The drill-cum-survey was taken up after the Seetharambagh fire accident in which a five-storey plastic godown collapsed due to intense heat after a blaze. The fire department faced many problems in dousing the fire as the building was located in a narrow street.

Around 400 buildings were checked including 80 high-rises. “Sixty per cent of high-rises were free of violations,” a fire official said. “Top business establishments were found to have violated laws. Swagat Restaurant (19.7 m height) of Malakpet, Swagat East Court (22 m) of Karimnagar, Sneha Retreats (20.7 m) near Dilsukhnagar and some other hotels were found violating rules.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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